Duneland Schools goal to start building middle schools and New Yost in the spring

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Duneland School Corporation Superintendent Chip Pettit

Duneland School Corporation hopes to begin three major projects by next spring: renovating the Liberty Intermediate and Westchester Intermediate schools and building the new Yost Elementary School.

The projects are the main components of a comprehensive $ 168.8 million package of capital improvements that will affect almost every building in the district. The plan is to be implemented from 2022 to 2025.

“I think it is an amazing thing for the church that we are able to use all of our 21st century programming support facilities.

In the next step, the design for all three projects will be finalized by December. Pettit said the bond funding for the project could be received in February and the building bids could be awarded in March. Construction could then begin next month.

The renovation of the Liberty Intermediate and Westchester Intermediate schools is key to the district’s plan to move seventh and eighth graders to these Chesterton Middle School buildings by the fall of 2023. The Liberty Intermediate project will cost $ 29,428,770 while the Westchester Intermediate renovation will cost $ 29,855,605, according to county estimates.

The two middle schools will accommodate fifth to eighth graders. Pettit said there will be a separation of the fifth and sixth graders from the seventh and eighth graders.

“From floor to ceiling, it will look like a new building when you enter,” said Pettit of both secondary schools.

The district is also starting to work on what possible adjustments to the enrollment limits need to be made to accommodate the change. Under current limits, enrollment would be 1,000 students at Westchester Intermediate and 700 students at Liberty.

Duneland School Corporation is organizing the Enrollment Equity Committee of approximately 30 people to come up with a proposal on how enrollment can be balanced across the district.

The committee consists of parents, community members, teachers, school principals, and administrators. Half of the committee will be parents to the five elementary schools that serve the middle schools.

The boundaries for all elementary, middle and middle schools are checked. It is hoped that the proposal can be presented to the school principal and the school board by December 31st. Those interested in participating are asked to contact Bridget Martinson at bmartinson @ duneland. k12.in.us

During the summer, the district decided to build a new building for the Yost Elementary School on what is now 12 acres at 100 W. Beam St. in Porter.

The new building will be built in stages on the site, while the old building will be used until completion.

The administrators, along with the district advisor, had considered a 33-acre property across the street that once housed a brick factory in the 1920s. The site showed traces of arsenic and lead in the soil.

However, Pettit said the district had concluded that it was too costly to build on the 33-acre site as a huge amount of earth had to be moved to the site to raise the level of land for construction.

The cost of the new Yost Elementary School is estimated at $ 24,724,735 million.

Pettit said no decisions have been made about the future of Chesterton Middle School after the seventh and eighth graders moved to the two middle schools in 2023.

Duneland School Corporation intends to keep the swimming pool and administration offices on the east side of the building, Petit said. Offers for the alternative school, the early childhood and special needs education would be continued on site.

There would still be plenty of space, including the gym and auditorium on the west side of the building, Pettit said.


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